The happiest I remember being (as an “adult”) was when I was 19. I had friends, places to go, things to do – nothing that was ever important, but there was always something there if I chose to be social.
I have spent the last several years trying to figure out what was so different for me then, that I was able to be that happy. (Besides being 19, of course!)
I wasn’t afraid then. I cared about others, but I cared about myself, too.
What changed? Why I am so afraid now?
I have thoughts on this, but they are ever changing, as I am discovering more and more about myself as an adult.
I ended up spending my 20s screwing up. A LOT. I had no idea how to adult. I was not raised in an environment where adulting was something that my elders taught. So, even though there were a lot of mistakes, and a lot of failures, I realize now that I was learning. The downside to this, though, is that I was also learning that I was a disappointment. Again, now that I am in my 30s, I know that I was more disappointed in myself than anything else. Sure,my parents were likely disappointed in choices I made, as I can be with my teenager, but they knew then what I know now – I was learning how to adult. Unfortunately, though, there was damage there, and no, I’m not blaming my parents. (Parents are to blame in many aspects of childrens lives, but I don’t like the word blame. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, it’s a lot of winging it, and bluffing, and hoping you’re doing the right thing.) But I, being who I am, took those learning experiences, and made them negatives in my mind, without even realizing it.
So, back to the original question – what was different about me? What made me more social, more energetic, less afraid?
I didn’t let other peoples opinions bother me. I did my thing. As I said before, I cared about other people, and there are select people who knew me very well at that time that would concur. But I didn’t let the little things disturb me, the opinions of others, what they thought. I was just a kind and fun person.
I hope that I can take this knowledge, and turn it into that true version of mself that I strive for, now that I have a slightly better idea how to “adult”.
(this is definitely a more rambling post, but maybe someone out there will get some use out of it someday 🙂 )